Hotel Zurbano, Madrid, March 25, 2013—AFTER TOO MANY meals, let's call them, on airplanes and in airports, we went out tonight, tired but in need of restoration — ah, that's why they call it that! — to a little place down the street, where we had tapas and a bottle of wine. We're with my Australian brother and his Australian wife, who had had an even worse journey, thirty hours all told, Melbourne-Abu Dhabi-Milan Malpensa-Milan Linate-Madrid, and were in even greater need of restauración. We asked for tapas, and were apologetically given a menu only in Spanish along with a plate of jamón,, ordinary Spanish ham, nothing fancy, but tasting faintly of maturity and industry, not the ultra-refined bland sort of ham we'd had under our Eggs Benedict a few hours earlier at Heathrow.
And then a salad of red peppers with tuna bellies, and bacalao croquettes, and young chorizo on toasts, and good bread and decent olive oil and a little salt. I like it here.
Verdejo, Protos (Rueda), 2011: smooth, good color and flavor, nice finish• Restaurante La Nova, C/ Zurbano 83, Madrid; 914424902